Life

Looks like there might be a possible move in our future. At least as of today.

Next week, I travel for a possible new job. One that could be both exciting and challenging. But this possible move is also stressful as well.

There have been a lot of conversations, both with my wife and also with the possible organizations. The thought of moving, is exciting and scary all at the same time.

One on hand, it might be time for a change. But on the other, I would be away from my family for a month or two, 5 days a week, which is not ideal. Is it the end of the world, no, because families do it all the time. But for me, who is a very active father that puts his kids to be every night, it makes my stomach hurt.

Another big focus in all of this is my kids. They are established in their schools. They have little friends. We know their Pediatrician and he knows us. The thought of having to find someone new and build a relationship, does not excite me. But at the same time, this move could be a great thing for my family.

A good friend of mine asked where our end goal was for the family as it pertained to living and I said, North Carolina. And as we talked through that this was not in North Carolina, he reminded me that it took him 3 moves to get to his dream town.

This move would be a lot easier if it were just my wife and I. This could be possibly a no brainier to be honest. But I have to consider my kids. I have to think about how a possible move would impact them.

Everything would change. We would know not a single person there. We would be starting new. For someone that is not normally a risk taker, especially this late stage of my career, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a leap of faith.

My guess, is that by next time this week, I will know if we will be exploring the possibility of going or not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But it does add a layer of stress to life.

So, here is to a possible move.

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I realized this morning, that I really do not like who I am becoming. I do not mean that as a negative, but really more of a fact.

This morning before leaving the office, I was tense and on edge. One of the boys spelled some of his milk and did not tell me, and when my wife found it became a HUGE issue. Was it blown out of proportion,  maybe?  But she was not happy and I was on the receiving of that.

So my response was a simple reminder that I was getting ready to start my hour and a half commute, that I had a day full of meetings and then I would be driving another hour and a half back home after work. And it was then I realized, who I am becoming is someone that I do not like.

The argument that my wife and I had this morning, was not over the spilled milk. It was over my job.
My work load has tripled and there is a chance in literally the next few weeks, that it could do so again. I am on edge the time that I leave the house until I come home and often times, it is now taking me hours to settle down.

And that time that it takes for me to relax, is time that I’m not me. I’m frustrated. I’m short with my wife and my kids and I don’t mean to be, but I’m struggling. I am really trying to keep it all together. I’m focused on ensuring that my teams at work are doing their jobs and at the same time, when I walk in the door at home that I switch gears.

So this weekend, the phone goes away. My focus and attention is going to be spent on my family and I am going to try to relax some. In order to change to who I want to be, I have to change who I am becoming.

 

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I’ve stared looking at the year in review and all in all, it has been a good year. The family is healthy, spent a lot of time with friends and family.

So here are just a few of the highlights and they are not in any particular order.

  • Both boys are doing great in school. In fact, both have been recognized for achievements in learning.
  • Boy B was diagnosed with ADHD & has been doing great with both a combination of medication and also additional services to help him learn to cope with this.
  • We celebrated the life of my Grandfather this October. My Grandfather meant the world to me and taught me so many valuable life lessons. You can read more here.
  • We were able to meet our 1st financial goal that we set for the year and that was to pay off at least 2 major credit cards. 2 done and a few more to go. But, in all honesty, that was hard because we had an increase of medical bills due to my son’s therapy. Not complaining, but just a fact. But we are on pace to hopefully be in a better place in 2018.
  • My wife was in a major car accident this summer. I will never forget the feeling of pulling up to the accident and seeing the damage to my wife’s van and feeling how blessed we were that she was still alive. Her guardian angel was definitely there for sure protecting her.
  • We added a new addition to the family! Meiko aka The Meeks aka a great little puppy.
  • I started doing DDP Yoga, which is something that I never thought that I would do or even more importantly that that, enjoy.
  • Grateful that my family in Houston were spared any damage during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Cooked a whole lot and really started to broaden my horizon with cooking and taking some serious leaps with that. I also added grill number 4 to the deck. Which gives me 4 Grills and a smoker.
  • The boys just started martial arts and love it. And Boy A is starting to play basketball at the Recreation Department.
  • Work is, well work. Nothing really good or bad to say.
  • My wife’s job has changed a bit as well, so there has been an adjustment period there for us too.
  • My two favorite teams won championships, UNC Basketball and the Houston Astros.

All in all, life is good. We had our ups and our downs in 2017 but made a lot of great memories too.

And 2018 already has some bright spots. My wife and I will be celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and will be renewing our vows, with our kids there. And if all goes well, we should be able to really knock out a lot of debt in the front half of the year and being on our way to being debt free. And we already have at least 2 trips planned for the year as well, with many more to go.

So, from my family to yours, enjoy the moments and have a Safe and Happy New Year.

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At dinner on Saturday night, the boys were playing games and all of a sudden I hear “Son of a B…..” shouted at the table. Not something that you expect to hear at the dinner table, especially in public at a restaurant, but there it was.

I was in second grade before I heard my first cuss word, let alone saying it out loud. And the one time that I did say it in front of my dad, let’s just say that it didn’t end well for me. But sitting there Saturday night, hearing my son say Son of a B….. for the first time, totally caught me off guard. I was speechless for about 30 seconds.

And then I was faced with two choices and he knew as soon as he said it, that he was in trouble. But Option 1, take him out side and spank him or Option 2, calmly explain that what he said was wrong. So, I went with option 2 and we talked about how little boys do not need to talk that way.

Let’s just mark this down as just another thing that I was not expecting to deal with at such an early age.  I knew that it was coming, heck my wife swears like a sailor at sea, but I have really tried my best to keep my language clean. Now that being said, the boys are still not allowed to watch the UNC vs. dook basketball game, as I save all of my bad language for those games. But it was moments like Saturday night that really made me question if sending the boys to public school was the best option?

Do not get me wrong, I have zero plans to send the boys to private school for several reasons and the most important is that I pay city and state taxes, which directly effect the school, so why would I pay more? But more importantly, I will not lie and say that home schooling the boys did not cross my mine Saturday night.

As the night went on and we talked more about appropriate language, I was taken back to sitting on my grandfather’s front porch, talking with my Dad and he spanked me. And as I talked with my son’s about their choice of words and how they responded, I realized that I made the right choice in talking with them versus spanking. Even when they Son of a B….., I just sometimes shake my head.

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This has been a tough week. My grandfather is actively dying, work has been work and the boys have been ok. But it has been a tough week.

The boys have had a better week at both school and at home. They have done well with their nightly reading and math homework. But Boy B’s teacher has been out on medical leave and so his schedule has been a little off. I will say though that his medication has really helped with the last two weeks transitions with a substitute teacher.

As for my grandfather. The family has called in hospice to help provide comfort for him in his final days. And even though I have not been able to make the 7 hour drive south to say goodbye, I have been able to talk with him several times and we laugh, we cry and we say goodbye again. The call this past weekend was tough, because he was barely able to say “I love you”, but he did and I cried.

The older that I get, the more I realize what is really important. Work has been tough this week, for a lot of reasons. And maybe the things from my life have taken priority and/or overshadowed everything else, I have tried to keep composure. But life, is sometimes hard to control all aspects without a little struggle.

As I type this, one of the boys is watching the Houston Astros playoff baseball game (Go STROS!) and the other is in the bath. I just chilled a bottle of wine, because sometimes a good glass of wine is all that you need to help today be a little better. And as I get the boys ready for bed, I am quietly reflecting on the day and week.

This has been a tough week! But life can be that way more times than not. Sometimes, it is hard to step back and think about what is important because of life. And then there are days like today, that make me really realize what is truly important. So, with that, Go Stros! And I’ll put the boys to bed tonight, enjoy a good glass of wine and I’ll celebrate the final days of my grandfathers life.

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Heroes don’t wear capes and masks, instead they wear uniforms and business suits and dresses, and overalls. Heroes are everyday normal humans that do extraordinary things on a daily basis.

Teachers, doctors, famers, fire fighters, police officers, soliders and the list goes on and on, these are true heroes. They put their lives on the line daily or they do something for the better of the world. And more importantly, they do amazing things with little to no fan fare or rarely a thank you.

Today, as I type this, my grandfather, who is one of my heroes, is laying in a hospital bed and is coming to the end of his life. He fought in World War II, he was a farmer, he was a father and grandfather, brother, uncle, etc. But more importantly, he contributed to society in different ways and made everyone that came in contact with him a better person.

He is always quick with a joke or a smile and he has never known a stranger in his life. Even when he is down or not feeling well, he is doing everything he can to make someone else’s day better. Through out the last several months as his health has steadily declined, he never once complained. He never once asked for pity or for someone to feel bad for him. Instead, he offers advice, he tells a joke and he makes others ok with were he is in his life and in knowing what the future holds.

My grandfather has lived a great life. He lived within his means and built up a legacy for his entire family and has been a rock for us all. And as we come to the end of his life, I have struggled with making sure that I have asked all of the questions that I wanted to know. I have wanted to ensure that he is comfortable and ready to leave this world, because when I get the call, though it will be a sad moment, he will no longer be struggling.

So as we watch what is going on in the world today, I reflect more on what lessons of life I have learned from my grandfather, because he is a hero that wore a farmer’s hat and drove a tractor.

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I have held off saying a lot about Hurricane Harvey and I did so for a reason, I didn’t know what to say? Was I going to discuss the disaster? Was I going to discuss the loss of lives and devastation? The political rhetoric that has been thrown around? Or, was I going to talk about how I was personally effected?

Honestly, I still don’t know what to say? This will probably be a rambling post, but that is ok. I think often times, we struggle to find the right words to say in the aftermath of this disaster.

I am from North Carolina and at the age of 21, I packed up my jeep and moved just north of Houston to a town called The Woodlands. There, my life changed for the better. It changed because I went out with what I could put in my jeep and my best friend John, who was already living there, we got an apartment and I became who I am today. Houston is the 4th largest city in the US, so for me, I had never lived near that large of a city.

My first week of living in The Woodlands, I drove to downtown Houston to see the sights and to get use to the traffic and to the area, but what really happened was I fell in love with the city. I feel in love the area, the people, the culture, etc. And had I not accepted, at what I thought was a great job on the east coast, I would still be there today. I to this day, love Houston and more importantly, the great state of Texas.

The food and the music to this day have been completed changed because of my time there.   BBQ has an entire different feel for me today than it did in North Carolina because of Brisket and smoked sausage.  Tex-Mex and Mexican food, I don’t even know where to begin on this, but I think that Lyle Lovett said it best and is words that I still live by to this day:

Never eat Mexican food east of Mississippi or north of Dallas. – Lyle Lovett from a Southern Living article.

And the music is just amazing. From seeing King George Strait, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Randy Rogers Band and Wade Bowen and the list just go on and on.  To this day, when these artists are in town, I try like hell to get back, because for a few hours, I get to relive my time in Texas.

Texas is a part of me. It made me who I am today. It shaped me into the father, husband, man etc that I am today. It forced me to make new friends and leap outside of my comfort zone. I had to abandon things and views that I thought were one way to realize that it was really another. I changed into a better person, because of the years that I lived in Texas and for that, I am forever grateful.

So as I sat and watched the storm unfold, I was in constant contact with my family and friends that live there. I saw through their photos via text and on Facebook what was going on. And then the days after, I saw media photos of places where I worked or drove to and from work or the damage that my church had. But through it all, my friends and family are safe. The church can be repaired from the flooding, again. And Texas will rebuild, hell if you have ever spent anytime in Texas, you’ll know that not only will the city and residents rebuild, they will rebuild even bigger than before. That is the Texas way. That is Texas Pride!

As I listened to a friend the other night discuss the political tone and how the GOP failed to pass legislation when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, I couldn’t help be thinking that he was missing something. Regardless of the political views, the residents were rallying around each other and helping one another in a way that can not be described. People that did not know each other and regardless of color, political views, religious views were there helping to save the lives of their fellow Texans.

Hurricane Harvey hits really close to home for me. I have a good friend that was working the entire time as a fireman. I have friends that are in law enforcement there. I have close family there. I have friends that have serious medical conditions that were unsure about treatments that they were going to have. And through it all, you see Houston Texans J.J. Watt started a fund with a goal of $200,00o to be raised to help the residents of Houston and at this time, it has raised over $16 million.

Houston is Houston Strong and that will not change. Hurricane Harvey will not destroy the great state of Texas or the city of Houston and surrounding cities for that matter. If you are able to give, please do so, as it will take years to rebuild. And there is a reason why the phrase “Don’t Mess With Texas” is so true. Texans have rallied in a time of disaster to help those in need. So as I type this out, my heart and prayers are with those today and always, in a city and state that I truly love.

God Bless Texas!

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Such an easy thing to say, I am sorry, yet it is something that I think that a lot of father’s fail to say to their kids.

This past week, I had dealt with some issues at work, my wife’s car accident (that in and of it’s self will be a future blog post), knowing that my grandfather is dying, etc. and I’m not going to lie, I really struggled. I really struggled doing and saying the right thing because I wasn’t able to rest and I wasn’t able to deal, I was just going through motions.

So this week as I was putting the boys to bed, I was exhausted and I had zero patience for any messing around. And of course, that was the night that as I put the boys to bed, Boy A was ready to struggle. He whined, he cried, he fussed, etc and I had no patience for it and I got on him. I raised my voice and told him to knock it off.

So, why do I write this about say I am sorry? Easy, two weeks ago, my father for one of the first times told me that he was sorry. The words “I am sorry” came out of his mouth because I said that in my 41 years of my life, he had only cried in front of me 5 times and that he had told me that it was wrong to cry. But this time, he had a different story to tell. This time, he admitted, it was ok to cry. He said it was ok to say the words “I am sorry”.

My wife came up that night, as she could tell that I was loosing control and losing it quickly. She came up, laid down with our son, Boy A and got him to sleep. As she was rubbing his back, she was rubbing mine, as she knew that EVERYTHING from the previous weeks was coming to a head for me. But she also realized that I needed a break.

As I gathered my things after both boys were asleep that night, I said the following words “I am sorry” in my son’s ears. But that wasn’t enough. See, that was enough for me to go to sleep, but that was not enough for me to make amends. Growing, I was on the other side. I was the one going to sleep upset. I was the one going to bed being yelled at.  I said what I needed to, knowing that in the morning, I needed to say more.

This is what separates me from my Dad and it is not a negative against him at all, but is more what I have realized that I needed to do as a father, learning from his mistakes. So as my son, Boy A, woke up this morning, I grabbed him and hugged him as tightly as I could and whispered that I was sorry and we hugged.

I was wrong. I was wrong on so many differently levels. I was wrong because I took out on my son, my frustrations of life because he didn’t goto bed as quickly as I thought he should.  And the key phrase there is “I thought”. I thought that he should goto bed as soon as we were done our nightly routine. I thought that he should goto bed as soon as I was ready to goto bed.

But what I realized was, he wasn’t ready and I was wrong because I didn’t give him the opportunity to decompress for the day. I did not ask all the questions that he had for the day or all the different questions he had for the day. And what I realized as I left their room, was that was how I felt as a kid.

AND I WAS WRONG!

No, I WAS SORRY!

I was sorry for every making my sons feel the way that I did. I was sorry for dismissing their questions and needs, because I was tired and frustrated and wanted a glass of wine. I was wrong! But I made it right. I explained to both of them where I was wrong in my ways. I explained that I should have had more patience. And I encouraged both of them that when it is time for them to be father’s, to be a better Dad, than I am to them.

Does that mean that they will not fail? Nope. They will. Does that mean that they will not have to use the phrase, “I am sorry?” Nope, because, they will.  But if they can learn from me, if they can learn from my mistakes, if they can see that I tried to be the best dad that I could for him and still had short comings, then it gives them something better to strive for.

So to my sons, I am sorry. I have tried to be the best Dad that I can and will continue to do so. But, I will make mistakes. I will fail. But, I will say I am sorry, because, I will be.

 

 

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Perspective is the word of the day. And let me frame it up in a different way, often times we look at things in one way, but in reality, when we step back, we have a different point of view or way that we look at something. Perspective!

Yesterday before walking into a meeting, my wife called to let me know that she was heading to pickup the kids and just left the office. Maybe, 15-20 minutes later, my phone rang, I just had a feeling that this was not going to be good. I knew that it was rainy. I knew that the road that she was traveling on is congested. I just had a bad feeling and I was right.

So as I hurried out of the office and on the way to where my wife was on the side of the road, because she had been rear ended, every possible thought that I could have had, I did. I knew that she was ok and not hurt, I knew that she was upset and I knew that her van was more than likely totaled. But here comes that moment of perspective, cars can be replaced, people can not. Our boys were not with her, they would have been hurt and possibly pretty badly.

After dealing with some emotional components to this, i.e. my wife’s mother was killed exactly 50 miles north of where we stood on the side of the road. Looking at what was the back windshield and seeing all of the glass shattered throughout the back. Seeing how the front of the van was pushed in, because the force of the impact of where my wife was rear ended and then being pushed about 2 car links into the car in front of her and the damage that was done.

Waiting for my wife to be checked out last night for either a concussion or whiplash. Seeing how she was moving slowly and already getting sore and tense. Making the call to USAA last night to start the claims process. Waking up to a 7:30 call from the car rental, asking what time we would arrive. Realizing this morning, that we had paid about 6 months off of the car loan and that we were at about a year and 8 months before it being paid off and then I was going to get something new and then realizing, I wasn’t.

Perspective is when thinking logically through each and every one of those things and knowing that the days/weeks and maybe month ahead will be stressful. Knowing that we now have to buy a new car and that really wasn’t in the budget, at all. Life doesn’t always work the way that we have planned. But, it could have been a lot worse. Perspective. Perspective sometimes takes a little while, maybe even days before it is realized, but I am just thankful and grateful.

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The struggle is real or at least, it has been the last few weeks. We have come to the final home stretch of Kindergarten and by all accounts, the boys have exceeded their first year’s grade level expectations by a lot. And, we all survived, which is also important!

I have noticed though that in the last few weeks, Boy B has struggled with a few classes and some of the changes in his schedule. I remember a long time ago, when I was in school, the last few weeks bothered me because of the lack of structure. So the struggle is real with him and the lack of structure of the day and it has reflected in his daily behavior sheets at school.

Speaking of no structure, today was Field Day for the boys and as I made my way onto the campus at school, I stopped for a moment to watch at how far my sons have come in the last year. And the struggle is real for me, as much as it is for them. You see, we all have grown, we all have changed, but we made it. We worked through the changes together and had a lot of talks, but we made it through their Kindergarten year.

So Dad’s, as you embrace your child’s 1st real formal school year, the struggle is real, but you will make it. You will be ok and your children will be ok too. Be there for them. Help them when they have struggles, but let them make mistakes. The struggle is real.

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